webmasterOctober 16, 2014October 16, 2014American Express Meeting & Events recently completed their worldwide 2015 forecast and found that most meeting indicators were positive even in light of increased compliance, global expansion and innovative virtual meeting options. Today, let’s focus on the key indicators from this Meeting & Events Report and what they mean as you plan events for next year and beyond. Key Meeting Predictions Four Emerging Technologies According to this report, four digital solutions will make a bigger emergence in 2015: Attendee management solutions Event mobile applications Social Media and Hybrid meeting solutions What Does This Mean? Attendee management tools, mobile apps and social media will reside on attendees’ BYODs, iPad rentals or touch screen rentals. Hybrid meetings will become more attractive next year due to improved technological advances and the need for attendees to pick and choose their face-to-face events. My recommendation is that you focus attention on these items and make certain your venue has enough bandwidth to support the apps and the virtual attendees. In the Arena of Meeting Logistics Here are the North American results regarding expected changes in 2015 as compared to 2014: Group hotel prices will rise 4.6% There will be a .3% increase in the number of meetings Overall meeting spend will increase by .3% The number of attendees at a meeting will rise by .2% Number of conference days will average out to 2.3 The top meeting destination choices among planners will be: Chicago Orlando Las Vegas Atlanta and San Diego What Does This Mean? Consider discounting drayage, electricity or carpet rather than discounting the entire exhibitor fee. Let Them Bring in Their Own Vendors If you haven’t considered a budget increase in room nights, this is the time to make a change. With hotels and planners feeling the pinch with attrition, piracy, double bookings and “thorns in their sides” such as AirBnB, is it any wonder prices are going up? In addition, hotel supply is limited in major cities and with an improved economy, in great demand. What should you do? If your budget is very tight, look to slow days and seasons to schedule your conference and try to obtain a very competitive price so attendees do not go around the room block. The rest are positive indicators for face-to-face meetings; given the number of virtual options available to attendees nowadays. Growth in Meeting Segments Here is what American Express Meetings & Events predicts in terms for growth in the number of meetings for the following meeting segments: Training: Up .9% Management Retreats & Board Meetings: Up .7% Sales and Marketing: Up .5% Advisory Board: Up .5% Conferences & Trade Shows: Up .1% Internal Team Meetings: No Change Product Launches: No Change Incentive Trips & Special Events: Down .2% What Does This Mean? 5 out of the 8 meeting segments are in growth mode, with no change or a slight decrease for the remaining three. This is a great statement about the value of face-to-face meetings. Summary Statement “The meeting industry overall appears to be very much back in business,” stated Issa Jouaneh, Vice President and General Manager of American Express Meetings & Events. I couldn’t agree more. How Hartford Technology Rental Can Help With Your Meetings Hartford Technology Rental is based in Chicago and can provide your next meeting with on time delivery, 24/7 technology support and the latest computer and audio visual equipment rentals in every US location.